John Hurt Dead at 77

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John Hurt
Photo: Kypros/Getty Images

Esteemed British actor John Hurt has died. He was 77 years old. The two-time Oscar nominee and Golden Globe winner had a long, rich career, appearing in critically acclaimed, massively popular films throughout his nearly 60 years in the entertainment industry. In 1979, he suffered one of the most famous deaths in film history as the victim of the chest-burster in Alien. The next year, he garnered his first Academy Award nomination playing John Merrick in David Lynch’s The Elephant Man. He played the face of the proletariat in a dystopian state in 1984 (1984), then played the screaming, dictatorial face of oppression decades later in V for Vendetta (2005). To Millennial fans, he is probably known best as Ollivander in three of the Harry Potter films. Hurt’s distinct, crackling voice and well-worn face set him apart from his colleagues and added a texture to his roles that drew a clear line throughout his career. His onscreen presence provided both a sense of familiarity and a wizened gravitas; he continued to work steadily even after announcing his pancreatic-cancer diagnosis in 2015. Hurt contributed work to several movies that are yet to be released, and was most recently seen as the priest in the Oscar-nominated Jackie.